Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Where Experience Matters

A Galveston County jury today convicted Joshua Joyce Mauldin of the first degree felony of Injury to a Child Causing Serious Bodily Injury, rejecting defense claims that the Defendant was not guilty by reason of insanity.

Congratulations on a job well-done by prosecutor Xochitl Vandiver.

Prosecuting an "insanity case" is a tricky proposition, even though the burden of proof is on the defense to show beyond a preponderance of the evidence that a defendant is legally insane. It takes experience and intelligence to be able to try a case like this, as you deal with psychologists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, and other experts.

Not to mention it takes the intestinal fortitude to stomach such horrific acts to a small child.

I just can't help but think that if something horrific like this ever happened to my child, that I would want a career prosecutor on the case -- someone who has been inspired their entire life to try a case like this.

I would want someone who answered the calling to be a prosecutor.

Not just somebody who answered the calling to be elected to something.

4 comments:

anonymous c said...

Hear, hear, AHCL!

Michael said...

I just can't sign up for the idea that it's particularly difficult to get a conviction in a case like this. Yes, the prosecution has to prove that the defendant is not insane by a preponderance, but the Texas standard of insanity is so high that proving that negative by a grain of sand test isn't particularly difficult, at least not in Harris County (and I realize the case you're discussing was in Galveston). I'm trying to think of cases in Harris County where someone was found not guilty by reason of insanity and can't; I'mt sure fellow commenters will help me out.

As for proving the guilt of the defendant, once you beat insanity, what's left? The facts are overwhelming. The main job for the prosecutor in this case, as I see it, would be to get all the evidence to the jury and not make any rookie mistakes. I wouldn't want a brand new ADA to handle the case, but someone with five to ten years experience should be able to drive home the point. One wouldn't need to be Robert E. Crowe.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Michael,
Seriously? You can't think of a single case?! You don't remember Andrea Yates?! There was Yvonne Rodriguez before her. The thing about insanity cases is that they do get very technical and you do have to understand it to argue against it. Lyn McClellan is probably one of the best prosecutors in the world at handling insanity defenses. You have got to remember that sometimes the more heinous the crime, the more likely that a jury will find their actions to be insane. Just a thought.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Michael,
Thank you for the technical advice. I changed the settings. I appreciate it.